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Airline company aims to offer widespread budget flights

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Air travel in Africa is changing and Fastjet’s ambition is to become the first pan-continental low-cost airline.

Picture: Fastjet

Picture: Fastjet

African low-cost airline Fastjet said on June 13th it had signed a deal with Nigeria’s Red1 Airways Ltd to create “a low-cost airline operating within Nigeria and to destinations across Africa.” Red 1 will provide the capital for Fastjet Nigeria.

Fastjet has also been granted permission to launch international flights from its hub in Tanzania. The company, which is backed by Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, will fly to South Africa, Zambia and Rwanda. It received route approvals from the relevant governments under Bilateral Air Services Agreements (BASAs).

Fastjet has also said it was putting its plans to launch a fastjet-branded domestic service in South Africa on hold. One of the ways that Fastjet grows is by the revival of defunct airlines and in South Africa this was going to be via acquisition of all the shares of 1time Airline from its parent company, 1time Holdings Limited. However, the company said it had decided to put the launch temporarily on hold to focus on launching the international services out of Tanzania as soon as possible.

“We remain totally committed to launching the fastjet brand in South Africa as soon as possible … we have taken the sensible decision to prioritise setting up these lucrative and high profile routes first,” Ed Winter, fastjet’s chairman and chief executive, said.

“This is a monumental day in Fastjet’s history, and brings us closer to our goal of becoming Africa’s first pan-continental low-cost airline,” he said.

Fastjet was created following its acquisition of the African airline Fly540, and operates from four bases in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Angola. As such, it already has 10 aircraft serving around 25 destinations within Africa.

Fastjet also announced it had secured financing of up to $23.5m through an equity deal with Darwin, a subsidiary of fund managers Henderson Global Investors Volantis Capital. The deal if over three years.

Fastjet Chief Commercial Officer Richard Bodin said the company “is currently planning a huge sales launch activity that will see it offering its customers never-seen-before fares…We have made a commitment to the people of Africa to democratize air travel on the continent and this is another very significant step on that journey.”

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